Act 4: Scene 1 to 3

Act 4, Scene 1

The witches appear, and the environment is gloomy and grim. Cauldrons bubble and the witches chant their spells. Hecate appears and praises the other witches for their work. Just as the witches have predicted, Macbeth appears. Macbeth requests that the witches give him more predictions. To do so, the witches call apparitions to help demonstrate their predictions. For the most part, the visions help Macbeth realize that he does not have much to fear. A hand that floats warns him that Macduff does not have his best interests at heart; a bloody child materializes and informs him that “none of woman born/shall harm Macbeth” (4.1.96-7). In another vision, a child wearing a crown lets him know that until Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane Hill, he will be safe.

In the last apparition, eight kings walk by; the final king holds a mirror. Banquo’s ghost follows at the end of the line. Instead of explaining the vision to Macbeth, the witches disappear. Lennox enters the scene to tell Macbeth about Macduff’s flight to England. Feeling threatened, Macbeth decides to have murderers kill Macduff’s wife and children.

Act 4, Scene 2

The scene opens at Macduff’s castle. Lady Macduff questions Ross about why her husband has fled. Lady Macduff feels left out of her husband’s plans, but Ross tells her that she just needs to trust his better judgment. Lady Macduff tries to tell her son that his father has died, but he refuses to believe his mother. A messenger appears and warns Lady Macduff that she and her son must leave the castle because they are in danger. However, Lady Macduff does not believe the messenger. The murderers come in; one of the murderers condemns Macduff. Macduff’s son replies by calling the accuser a liar. In response, the murderer stabs the son. Lady Macduff runs, and the murderers chase her.

Act 4, Scene 3

Malcolm tells Macduff that he fears Macduff may be in cahoots with Macbeth. To...

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Essays About Macbeth